Thanks to progress made in containing the spread of COVID-19, Contra Costa County has relaxed restrictions in its shelter-in-place order to allow retail stores and their suppliers to reopen on Tuesday.
As of May 19 at 6 a.m., retail stores in Contra Costa County may now offer curbside sales or other outdoor pickups of orders as long as they abide by certain safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Stores may not display merchandise for sale on tables or otherwise outside the stores. Customers may not enter the store or interior of any indoor shopping mall. Stores must also employ reasonable measures to require customers to comply with social distancing requirements at the pickup areas, including marking locations at six-foot intervals for customers to stand while waiting in line.
“While this is not a return to normal, it is one step in that direction” said Dr. Chris Farnitano, Contra Costa County’s health officer. “We will be closely monitoring the effects of allowing curbside retail on the spread of COVID-19 in the community.”
Contra Costa will also allow businesses that manufacture retail goods and provide warehousing or logistical support to retail stores to operate, but they must limit the number of staff in enclosed areas so that personnel can comply with social distancing requirements.
The changes mark a shift from allowing people only to shop at essential businesses, such as grocery stores and pharmacies. Dr. Farnitano said encouraging progress has been made in the two weeks since the most recent shelter-in-place order in reaching five goals or “indicators” went into effect:
- The number of new cases of COVID-19 has been stable or decreasing, even with increased testing
- The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 is stable, and we have adequate hospital capacity. As of May 17, there were 19 COVID-positive patients in Contra Costa hospitals – down from a high of 44 in mid-April.
- More COVID-19 tests are being performed in our region each day
- Hospitals are reporting improved supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), though shortages continue in other healthcare settings
- There is increased capacity for case investigation and contact tracing.
Residents are still required by health order to stay home as much as possible, wear face coverings when they leave home, and to follow the precautions that have helped Contra Costa make progress to slow the spread of COVID-19, such as regular handwashing and social distancing. COVID-19 continues to pose a very significant risk to our communities, and continued vigilance is necessary to ensure that we do not see an increase in spread as more activities resume.